Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surgical Technicians Week

By Diane Forrest, RN


I normally wouldn't be talking about a day like today, because it only honors a small group of people, however, one of the members of the select few happens to be my stepson's wife.  This week is Surgical Technician's week.  Anyone who has ever had surgery has come in contact with one of these members at some point of their surgical procedure.

Surgical technologists, also called scrubs and surgical or operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists, and circulating nurses.

Before an operation, surgical technologists help prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment, sterile drapes, and sterile solutions. They assemble both sterile and non-sterile equipment, as well as check and adjust it to ensure that it is working properly. Technologists also get patients ready for surgery by washing, shaving, and disinfecting incision sites. They transport patients to the operating room, help position them on the operating table, and cover them with sterile surgical drapes. Technologists also observe patients' vital signs, check charts, and help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.

During surgery, technologists pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and surgical assistants. They may hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments. Surgical technologists help prepare, care for, and dispose of specimens taken for laboratory analysis and help apply dressings. Some operate sterilizers, lights, or suction machines and help operate diagnostic equipment.

After an operation, surgical technologists may help transfer patients to the recovery room and clean and restock the operating room.

Certified surgical technologists with additional specialized education or training also may act in the role of the surgical first assistant or circulator. Under the surgeon's direction, the surgical first assistant, as defined by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), provides aid in exposure, hemostasis (controlling blood flow and stopping or preventing hemorrhage), and other technical functions that help the surgeon carry out a safe operation. A circulating technologist is the “unsterile” member of the surgical team who interviews the patient before surgery, prepares the patient for surgery, helps with anesthesia, obtains and opens packages for the “sterile” people to remove the sterile contents during the procedure, keeps a written account of the surgical procedure, and answers the surgeon's questions about the patient during the surgery.

Surgery Techs play a very important role during your operation, so Today, as we celebrate Surgical Technician's week, if you recently had surgery, or know someone who has, why not take a plate of cookies, or box of candy, or simply send a card thanking them for helping your procedure go smoothly.

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